Typhoid Fever

Type: Bacterial

Geography: developing areas of Africa, the Americas, South-East Asia, and the Western Pacific

Cases Per Year: 11 million to 20 million

Fatality Rate: 1%

First Discovered: 1880 by Karl Joseph Eberth in Germany

Typhoid fever is an infection due to a specific type of Salmonella typhi bacteria. It is transmitted by consumption of contaminated food and water. Once the bacteria are consumed, they multiply and spread into the bloodstream and intestinal tract. Symptoms include prolonged fever, headache, nausea, abdominal pain, and constipation or diarrhea. Some patients may develop a rash. Severe cases may lead to serious complications or even death.

The global burden of typhoid has the potential to increase because of urbanization, climate change, and antibiotic resistance. Typhoid spreads easily through overcrowded populations in cities and places with inadequate water and sanitation systems.

It is treated using antibiotics, and as the bacteria’s antibiotic resistance increases, new antibiotics are used. Multiple vaccines have been used to protect people from typhoid fever.  

Photo: Salmonella enterica serovar typhimurium – Cultured in medium